Jul 28, 2022
On this bonus episode, we present our Hacks & Wonks Candidate Forum with Tyler Crone, Nicole Gomez, Jeff Manson, and Julia Reed - all running for State Representative Position 1 in Seattle’s 36th Legislative district, which covers northwestern Seattle, including the neighborhoods of Ballard, Magnolia, and Queen Anne. This was originally live-streamed on Facebook and Twitter on July 13th, 2022. You can view the video and access the full text transcript of this forum on the 2022 Elections page at officialhacksandwonks.com. We hope you enjoy this forum, and please make sure to vote by Tuesday, August 2nd!
As always, a full text transcript of the show is available below and at officialhacksandwonks.com.
Find the host, Crystal, on Twitter at @finchfrii.
Register to Vote, Update Your Registration, See What’s on Your Ballot: MyVote.wa.gov
36th LD Primary Candidate Forum Video and Transcript: https://www.officialhacksandwonks.com/36th-ld-candidate-forum-2022
Hacks & Wonks - Julia Reed, Candidate for 36th LD State Representative (April 26, 2022): https://www.officialhacksandwonks.com/blog/julia-reed-candidate-for-36th-ld-state-representative
Hacks & Wonks - Nicole Gomez, Candidate for 36th LD State Representative (May 10, 2022): https://www.officialhacksandwonks.com/blog/nicole-gomez-candidate-for-36th-ld-state-representative
Hacks & Wonks - Jeff Manson, Candidate for 36th LD State Representative (May 24, 2022): https://www.officialhacksandwonks.com/blog/jeff-manson-candidate-for-36th-ld-state-representative
Hacks & Wonks - Tyler Crone, Candidate for 36th LD State Representative (June 21, 2022): https://www.officialhacksandwonks.com/blog/tyler-crone-candidate-for-36th-ld-state-representative
[00:00:00] Crystal Fincher: Hello everyone, this is Crystal Fincher, host of Hacks & Wonks. This is a bonus podcast release of our Hacks & Wonks Candidate Forum with candidates for State Representative Position 1 in Seattle’s 36th Legislative district. This covers northwestern Seattle, including the neighborhoods of Ballard, Magnolia, and Queen Anne. This was originally live-streamed on Facebook and Twitter on July 13th, 2022. You can view the video and access the full text transcript of this forum on the 2022 Elections page at officialhacksandwonks.com. We hope you enjoy this forum, and please make sure to vote by Tuesday, August 2nd!
Hello everyone. We are here for the 36th Legislative District candidate forum. My name is Crystal Fincher - I'm a political consultant and the host of the Hacks & Wonks podcast, and I'm honored to welcome you to tonight's candidate forum. I'm so excited to hear from our guests - all running for State Representative Position 1 in the 36th Legislative District.
Before we begin tonight, I would like to do a land acknowledgement. I would like to acknowledge that we are on the traditional lands of the first people of Seattle, the coast-Salish peoples, specifically the Duwamish people, past and present. I would like to honor with gratitude the land itself and the Duwamish Tribe.
So welcome to the Hacks & Wonks 2022 Primary Candidate Forum for Legislative District 36 Position 1. We're excited to be able to livestream this series on Facebook and Twitter. Additionally, we are recording this forum for rebroadcast and later viewing.
We invite our audience to ask questions of our candidates. If you're watching a livestream online, then you can ask questions by commenting on the livestream. You can also text your questions to 206-395-6248. That's 206-395-6248, and that number will scroll intermittently at the bottom of the screen.
The candidates running for 36th Legislative District Representative Position 1 with us tonight are - in alphabetical order - Tyler Crone, Nicole Gomez, Jeff Manson, and Julia Reed.
A few reminders before we jump into the forum: I want to remind you to vote. Ballots will be mailed to your mailbox starting today - ballots were mailed. You can register to vote still, update your registration still, and see what will be on your ballot at MyVote.Wa.gov. So please take advantage of that and double check that everyone you know is also.
I want to mention that tonight's answers will be timed. Each candidate will have one minute to introduce themselves initially and 90 seconds to answer each subsequent question. Candidates may be engaged with rebuttal or follow up questions and will have 30 seconds to respond. Time will be indicated by the colored dot labeled "timer" on the screen. The dot will initially appear as green, then when there are 30 seconds left it will turn yellow, and when there are 10 seconds left it will turn red. You will be muted as soon as time is up.
I want to mention that I'm on the board for IDF or, The Institute for a Democratic Future. Jeff Manson is an IDF alum and Nicole Gomez was the program director for the most recent IDF class. We've not discussed any details of their campaigns or of this forum.
In addition to tonight's forum, Hacks & Wonks is also hosting a 47th Legislative District State Rep Position 2 candidate forum, in South King County, for next Wednesday, July 20th at the same time - 6:30-8p.
Now we'll turn to the candidates who will each have one minute to introduce themselves, starting with Tyler Crone, then Nicole Gomez, then Jeff Manson, finally Julia Reed. And we will proceed immediately to a lightning round of Yes/No questions following that. So starting with Tyler Crone.
[00:04:14] Tyler Crone: Hi, I'm Tyler. I'm a global public health leader, human rights advocate, public school parent for 14 years and counting, and a mama bear of three. I'm not an ordinary candidate and this is not an ordinary time. The stakes are extraordinarily high. We are at an inflection point for shared prosperity and progress. We continue to live through a pandemic. We are experiencing an historic rollback of our rights, self-determination, and even our collapse of our church and state separation. COVID-19 has shown us that global health is local and public health is essential. Advancing sexual reproductive health and rights has been what I have done throughout my career and it is needed now more than ever with the overturn of Roe. And ultimately I had to jump into this race as transgender kids and their families, just like mine, are being criminalized across our country. I spent my lifetime making a difference for others, partnering with impacted communities, and centering those most impacted. And so I look forward to your questions and I see this as the leadership our state needs now. Thank you.
[00:05:20] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - and next.
[00:05:26] Nicole Gomez: Hi everyone. Hello, I'm Nicole Gomez and I'm a mom, an advocate, a community leader, and I'm running to be your next State Representative here in the place I'm really proud to call my home and where I've chosen to raise my family, the 36th District. I'm running to be the next State Representative of the 36th because I would like to help create an economy that works for everyone. And that means addressing our regressive upside-down tax code, healthcare for everyone, fully funded public education, affordable housing, addressing the climate crisis, and so much more that's important right now in the 36th and across the entire state. At age five, I went from living in a secure house and lifestyle to quickly losing a home simply due to the illness of a parent. And from that moment I learned everything I can to navigate complex systems. And so I've been quietly doing this work behind-the-scenes through my healthcare nonprofit that works on transformative policy. I currently sit on the Universal Healthcare Commission and I'm the Executive Director of IDF, and I look forward to talking to you more.
[00:06:27] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - and now Jeff.
[00:06:31] Jeff Manson: Hi everyone. I'm Jeff - I'm a state administrative law judge, labor leader, and disability community advocate. And as an administrative law judge, I see every day how state laws and budgets affect people and I'm tired of underfunded government that tends to prioritize the wealthy and corporations over working people and the most vulnerable in our state. And although administrative law judges are state employees - for almost 40 years, we did not have the right to collectively bargain. So a few years ago, I organized my colleagues to successfully lobby the Legislature to extend collective bargaining rights to us. And then we formed our new union with 85% of my colleagues signing union authorization cards. I'm endorsed by the King County and 36th District Democrats, the Washington State Labor Council, the Environment and Climate Caucus of the Washington State Democrats, and Mary Lou Dickerson, who represented this district in the house for 18 years. And for those who are watching who are registered voters in the 36th - would be honored to have your vote.
[00:07:30] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - Julia.
[00:07:32] Julia Reed: Thanks - my name is Julia Reed and I'm running for the State House to advocate for a Washington State where everyone can belong and everyone can have a place. I'm a workforce policy expert, an advocate for youth and racial justice, and a lifelong Seattleite - and I love my hometown. I love the 36th District. But I know that if my public school educator parents were moving to Seattle today, they couldn't afford to live here. As a millennial, my peers and I are living the housing crunch, the high cost of living, lack of childcare, and the threat of climate change. These aren't policy hypotheticals to us, it's about fighting for the future - for our future and the future of other young people. I know we can make different choices in Olympia that will build a vibrant, empowering, equitable economy, where everyone can participate and everyone can thrive. As someone who bridges old and new Seattle, I wanna help create a future of shared prosperity and possibility for generations to come and I'm excited to get your questions.
[00:08:41] Crystal Fincher: Thank you so much. So now, we are actually gonna start right off with the lightning round portion. Candidates - get your Yes/No paddles ready to respond to questions. After the lightning round is complete - with all of the questions - you'll each get one minute to provide any further explanation of any of your votes or waffles or anything that happens like that. So we've got a number of questions to dive into - they go pretty quickly and we will attempt to announce the votes as they happen, so if anyone is listening along, you can hear that.
So starting off - first question, do you support calling a special session this year to codify reproductive rights and access into law? That is a Yes from everyone, and it looks like we have some background interference with green in that, for those of you who have that. So please make an extra effort to make sure that your green check is visible, but everybody appears to be a Yes for that.
Are there any instances where you would support sweeps of homeless encampments? I see Nicole Gomez, Julia Reed, and Jeff Manson have said No. Elizabeth Tyler Crone has said Yes.
We'll move to the next one. Would you vote to end single-family zoning to address housing affordability? I see that - I see Nicole Gomez and Julia Reed have answered Yes. Jeff Manson, Elizabeth Tyler Crone have answered No.
Would you vote to end the statewide ban on rent control and let localities decide whether they want to implement it? Everyone has answered Yes to that question.
Would you vote in favor of Seattle's, or will you vote in favor of Seattle's social housing initiative, I-135? Everybody is a Yes vote for social housing.
Would you have voted for the Legislature's police reform rollbacks in the last legislative session? Everybody is a No.
Should the Legislature pass restrictions on what can be collectively bargained by police unions? It's taking a long time to get those Yes and Nos up. This is - looks like everybody's waffling on this - so you can address this in your one minute afterwards. So we have a districtwide waffle on this.
Should we continue to limit the circumstances under which law enforcement is authorized to perform vehicular pursuits? Everybody is a Yes.
Do you support a state law that would remove obstacles, like qualified immunity, when suing police officers for violating a person's civil rights? Everybody is a Yes on that.
Should we offer tax credits or rebates for the purchase of electric bikes? Another Yes from everybody.
Would you vote for any bill that increases highway expansion? Nicole Gomez is a No and the only one to answer definitively so far. Julia Reed says No. And Jeff and Tyler look like they have a more nuanced answer to this.
Will you vote to ensure that trans and non-binary students are allowed to play on the sports teams that fit with their gender identities? Everybody is a Yes.
For people wanting to change their name to match their gender, do you support removing the cost and need to see a judge for legal processing name changes and gender marker changes? Everybody is a Yes.
To provide relief from inflation, should we temporarily suspend the gas tax? I see everybody as a No.
Would you vote to enact a Universal Basic Income in Washington? Everybody is a Yes.
Do you support a wealth tax? Nicole, Julia and Jeff are Yes. Tyler was a little bit after the Yes, but it's a Yes.
Should we increase taxes on large corporations? Everybody's a Yes.
Should we increase taxes on small businesses? Everybody's a No.
Should we lower taxes on small businesses? Everybody is a Yes.
Do you support implementing ranked-choice voting in Seattle? Everybody is a Yes.
Do you support moving elections from odd years to even years to significantly increase voter turnout? Uniform Yes.
In 2021, did you vote for Bruce Harrell? We've got three Nos, except from Julia Reed who just came in with a No.
In 2021, did you vote for Lorena González? We have uniform Yeses.
In 2021, did you vote for Nicole Thomas-Kennedy for Seattle City Attorney. I've got a Yes from Nicole Gomez, a No from Jeff Manson, No from Tyler Crone, a Yes from Julia Reed.
In 2021, did you vote for Ann Davison for Seattle City Attorney? Nicole Gomez, Tyler Crone, Julia Reed, and Jeff Manson all say No.
Is your campaign unionized? We've got uniform Nos.
If your campaign staff wants to unionize, will you voluntarily recognize their efforts? Everybody says Yes.
Would you vote to provide universal healthcare to every Washington resident? Everybody says Yes. There's more uniform agreement than I thought we were gonna have.
The Legislature just passed a law that will cap insulin at $35 a month for out-of-pocket costs for Washington residents. Would you vote to expand price caps to other commonly used drugs? Uniform Yeses.
Will you vote for a budget that increases funding for charter schools? Everybody is a No.
Right now, money raised by PTAs and parent organizations can be donated to their individual school. Should we require that this money instead be distributed equally across all similar schools in the district? Nicole, Jeff. Okay. So Julia and Jeff are Yeses, Nicole Gomez and Tyler Crone say No. That concludes our lightning round today.
So thank you - just kicks off, sets a baseline for where folks are and what they have. So moving into these questions, and we will begin the questions starting with Nicole Gomez. First question is we've seen significant increased investment in programs meant to reduce homelessness, yet people are saying they're not seeing the problem get much better despite a significant increase in funding. Do you agree that our homeless crisis is not improving? And if so, what needs to happen to get results? Starting with Nicole.
[00:17:00] Nicole Gomez: Great. I think that - so the homelessness and -
[00:17:08] Crystal Fincher: Oh!
[00:17:08] Nicole Gomez: Wait, did we get to respond to our answers before we move on?
[00:17:11] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, you did. I totally forgot that - thank you for that reminder, Jeff Manson. Yeah, you guys get to explain your waffles and there were a number of them. I just jumped into the other section. So pause on that, Nicole - thank you so much for your flexibility in that. And we will start the explanations starting with Nicole on that one. Anything you wanna clarify about your answers, waffles, your unique Nos?
[00:17:35] Nicole Gomez: Sure. So I think the only one that was a unique No was the requiring PTAs or PTSAs to distribute equally to other schools as a requirement. I believe that individual PTAs should be allowed to make that decision. And the only reason is that back when my kid was at Salmon Bay K-8, that did come up as a topic. And so we were really interested in exploring it further and were able to vote on it together as a team. Parents have kids in their schools and so sometimes they would like to donate the money to their school specifically and other times not. So I think it's more democratic process to allow them to have that opportunity to vote. We ended up with a vote to share.
[00:18:32] Crystal Fincher: Thank you, and now we move to Jeff.
[00:18:36] Jeff Manson: Yeah, so a couple answers I'd like to discuss. One was collective bargaining rights for police officers. There have been a couple things that have been addressed. One is making the collective bargaining sessions open to the public, which I am opposed to, because I think that would undermine public sector unions beyond just police officers. And I don't think the benefit we would get would be worth that risk. It's been a right-wing, anti-union idea for years and I think we'd just be handing them something if we did that. In terms of - the other thing that's been discussed is the discipline process. I do think that law enforcement are in a unique position of power that other public employees like myself are not in. And so if we're careful about how it's written, there could be some aspects of the discipline process that we could look at. The other is highway expansion - should be our lowest priority, but wouldn't absolutely vote No.
[00:19:36] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - and Tyler.
[00:19:39] Tyler Crone: Yes, so the collective bargaining - I do not know enough to make a sweeping statement on that. Regarding eliminating single-family zoning, I think we all agree that there needs to be more density. We have affordability and housing as a middle-class crisis, but I am not in favor of eliminating single-family zoning all together. It needs a more thoughtful approach. The sweeps piece - I couldn't make an absolute statement to say, I would never agree to that, because there have been instances where there are encampments in schools and other places where children and families need to go and we need our civic space. Regarding the PTAs and the schools, we need to fully fund education so that our PTAs do not provide our specialists, our librarians, our counselors, our nurses, our arts. So I will fully support fully funding education. I understand that parents are desperate for options around -
[00:20:35] Crystal Fincher: It looks like that is your time. And we'll go to Julia.
Oh, Julia, you're gonna have to unmute yourself - there you go.
[00:20:47] Julia Reed: Oh, sorry. There we go, I'm unmuted. I was just gonna say on the police bargaining question, I think that I have seen from working in City Hall, the challenges and obstructions that can come from police unions and sometimes that run counter to police officers' own wishes around wanting to implement reforms. So I'd like, but I'd also as someone who's endorsed by the Washington State Labor Council, I wanna be sure that any actions we're making regarding collective bargaining or something that the labor community feels is right and is not going to undermine overall labor rights across the board. And I thought Tyler's answer just now was excellent on the need to fully fund public education, so I feel like I wanna change my position on that question. She definitely convinced me, made a great argument. I think that fully funding our schools is essential. We shouldn't be relying on PTAs to fill the gap.
[00:21:46] Crystal Fincher: And that is the time. Thank you so much.
And now - thank you for your flexibility. We are heading into the general question portion. So restating the question and we will start this time with Jeff, we've seen significant increased investment in programs meant to reduce homelessness, but people are saying that they're not seeing the problem get better yet despite the increase in funds. Do you agree that the homelessness crisis is not improving? And if so, what needs to happen to get results?
[00:22:24] Jeff Manson: Yeah, so I think we have - the City and the County make a lot of decisions about homelessness programs and contracts and parcel by parcel, but the state provides a lot of the funding for shelters, for tiny homes, for permanent supportive housing, for low income housing. And I think the - what the pandemic in the last few years have shown is that we've underinvested in these areas in recent decades. I do think that the services and the housing options are getting better. I just think during the pandemic, the lack of housing was rising faster than the services for homeless could keep up. So I think we're heading in the right direction, I think we are slowly seeing improvements, I think we're finding models that work. I think having peer navigators start with people when they're on the streets and looking through the whole process, I think tiny house villages are a good first stop for people. I think we've relied too much on our emergency shelters. As a housing option, they're great when it's subfreezing or 108 degrees but not as much as a night-to-night housing option. But a tiny house village is a good first stop and the majority of people there are placed in permanent housing within a few months. And I think permanent supportive housing is the gold standard. It's permanent housing, but with mental health therapists and other social workers on site for people who can't fully live on their own. And the Legislature put money in for about 2,000 more units statewide this last session, which should be coming online later this year, which is great, but it's not enough. We need a round two.
[00:23:56] Crystal Fincher: Thank you so much. And now we head to Tyler.
[00:24:04] Tyler Crone: Thank you. I know that the issue of homelessness is top of mind. I was out door knocking today in Ballard and that's the major concern. I have seen us spend a ton of money. I do not know what the results are and we've been calling it a protracted crisis for a very long time. I think it is the moment to accelerate and strengthen our partnerships at a city, county, and state level. Coordination was one of the key takeaways from an article in The Seattle Times about what we needed to strengthen our response. One, housing is a human right - we do not currently have enough shelter to put those who are unsheltered on the streets somewhere safe overnight. We need more immediate shelter options. Two, that long-term work towards affordable housing is critical. Right now, housing insecurity now is a middle class issue. Three, we do not have a sufficient mental and behavioral health system. That is top of mind for me - that both, we need to have a place where people can go and people can be safe, but we also need to be taking care of those who are most vulnerable amongst us. And currently our sweeps are happening without necessarily a place for people to go and that is not okay, so circling back to an earlier point that I made. The last piece I'll make is that it needs to be a regional approach. Thank you.
[00:25:33] Crystal Fincher: Thank you so much - now Julia.
[00:25:36] Julia Reed: Yeah, I think that - so when I was working in City Hall, one of the things that I remember - what came up in the conversations we had around the original start of the Regional Homelessness Authority was that actually the system within the greater Seattle area is exiting thousands of people and thousands of families from homelessness every year. The challenge is that tens of thousands of more are entering homelessness every year because of the high cost of living, the shortage of affordable rental property, the stagnant wages that we experience all across our country that mean that every person is really just one medical emergency or one sudden event away from finding themselves homeless. I understand that people's frustration is that we put money into it, it seems like it's getting worse. But I think that we invest comparatively little in our homelessness response. If you look at the billions of dollars we might put into roads and bridges, we don't invest a comparable amount in our human infrastructure in our state. And as a legislator, that is gonna be one of my big focuses - not just housing, mental healthcare - but also human infrastructure, like childcare, green spaces, access to healthy food. All of these things contribute to a safer, healthier community for everyone and particularly contribute to addressing our homelessness challenge in a permanent and lasting way.
[00:27:09] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - now Nicole.
[00:27:11] Nicole Gomez: Sure. So I think of homeness as a phenomenon that also should be contextualized with systemic issues, right? Racism or ableism, education access - there's a lot of different things that go and contribute to homelessness. So while it might seem like our numbers have been increasing, we've also been in the middle of a pandemic. And that, in addition to the high cost of housing overall, has been - exasperated the problem. Our unhoused individuals are carrying an immense amount of pain and trauma and we need to be looking at the programs that are also supporting - we've been underfunding a lot of them for decades. And so it's really time for us to think about what our true north is again - and make universal housing a goal - making sure that we are housing everyone and make it a priority. And I think that we're on the right track, we just need to get there in the long run. It's an issue and a problem for a really long time and it's gonna take a while to fix.
[00:28:40] Crystal Fincher: Thank you. For the next question - last year, Washington experienced a natural disaster in the form of our record breaking heat wave that left hundreds dead. Due to human-caused climate change, we're guaranteed to see more disasters like this. What will you do as a legislator to prepare our state and your district for future crises? And we are going to begin this question with Tyler.
[00:29:13] Tyler Crone: Thank you. So to prepare our state for future crises - this is an urgent and top-of-mind response issue for me - accelerated climate action and the climate impacts must be embedded into all of the decision making we make. One of the things that was top-of-mind related, Crystal, to the heat dome question as I entered this race was how smoke season has come up as a issue in the very short time that my youngest child has been alive. I see a way forward as - one, bringing my public health expertise and prioritizing that as what are the health impacts of these climate emergencies and how are we centering frontline communities? Two, the UN report on the climate crisis has suggested a very important strategy and that is something that we have an abundance - is centering Indigenous knowledge and Indigenous leadership. That is another key priority and approach of mine. Three, it is again about planning and coordination. Do we have the systems in place to keep people safe and healthy? Four, there is a piece of - do we have the funds available to help people recover from these climate emergencies and navigate them? And five, I would say it is about leaning into the bold innovation and leadership across our state so that we are all working together. As a young student said to me, "It's Earth Day, and I don't know what to do to make a difference." Thank you.
[00:30:50] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - and next we're headed to Julia.
[00:30:53] Julia Reed: Thanks. When I was working in City Hall, a group of Parks Department staffers came to me early in the spring and said, "We really wanna work on getting ready for wildfire season early. Can you help us?" And as a mayor's policy person, I was able to help elevate that issue. We created the first ever Smoke Ready Communities Day, which was a four-countywide event across King, Pierce and Snohomish county that tried to create awareness and information about preparing for wildfire smoke, especially for low-income communities, because these climate emergencies - they touch all of us, but they hit our low-income communities, our communities of color, our working people who have to go out to work the hardest and first. It's one of the reasons I'm proud to be endorsed by Puget Sound Sage and one of the reasons why I've been talking about wildfire smoke resiliency from the start of my campaign. I really want to see the state use some of our cap-and-invest funding to create a grant program for small cities to increase their climate resiliency and to help create a strategy for those cities as well - because large cities like Seattle have the staff and the expertise to create their own filtration systems as we did when I was in the mayor's office, but smaller cities and towns don't have that support and their folks are suffering right now and they need the state to step in and help them understand what to do and help them afford to make the retrofits to keep their community safe.
[00:32:22] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - Nicole.
[00:32:25] Nicole Gomez: Sure. Our communities are being attacked, are being destroyed every day by the climate or impacts of climate change. And we're seeing this in the forms of the flooding, the wildfires, droughts and we're being threatened by the inaction that's been not taken. So I think Washington should lead on reducing the carbon emission through more sustainable, like transportation, construction and consumption. Also, one of the secret weapons - I've read articles - one of the secret weapons against climate change is affordable homes. And it's a problem that I think that if we think about it in a more holistic way and look at the larger overarching systems, I think we can come up with some really good ideas for tackling our goals, our climate goals. And then also with the creation of the HEAL Act that's just been put into place - and that's engaging community through our state agencies and being able to make those recommendations from the bottom-up will really help also with that environmental justice aspect as well.
[00:33:52] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - now, Jeff.
[00:33:54] Jeff Manson: Yeah, I agree with what everyone else has said. I would just add, in addition to smoke season that we have now and the heat waves, which are gonna be more common, we also have a water crisis that's coming - and that's both our drinking water, it's our agricultural water, it's our electric power. So we need to be preparing for not only the disasters we're already experiencing, but the ones that we should be anticipating 5, 10, 20, 30 years from now. And we also need to keep leading on preventing these worse outcomes. Washington - the good news is Washington State has been a leader among states and among countries in terms of pushing our pro-climate policies to reduce our carbon footprint. The bad news is it's not enough. Even if every jurisdiction in the world copied exactly what we're doing, they're not gonna meet - none of us are gonna meet our climate goals of halving, cutting in half our carbon emissions by 2030 and even more by 2050. We had some low-hanging fruit this last legislative session - we had electric vehicle subsidies, which we can bring back - also support the electric bike subsidies, redoing our building code to promote electricity over natural gas. There was also a bill to include climate effects in the Growth Management Act comprehensive plans. So it's easy, low-hanging fruit to pick up next session, but we need to keep investing in green infrastructure and clean energy to prevent the worst from happening.
[00:35:28] Crystal Fincher: Thank you very much. Our next question will be an audience-submitted question. Pat in Greenwood wants to know what actions can the Legislature do to protect reproductive care with the Dobbs decision coming down from the Supreme Court, but our right already codified in state law here - but a constitutional amendment seems unlikely given the makeup of the chambers. So what actions can happen to protect reproductive care? And we are going to start with Julia.
[00:36:04] Julia Reed: Yeah, I think that I want to just push back a little bit against the concept that a constitutional amendment is unlikely. I think that it'll be challenging - maybe we can do income tax and reproductive rights in the same push. But I think that we have to start thinking about a constitutional amendment. Our rights are legally protected, but that law is only as good as long as we have Democratic majorities in the Legislature and a Democratic governor. And that could change and I don't feel comfortable leaving our rights up to that kind of risk, especially not in this day and age. I also think another thing we can do is - in Washington State, we have legally protected access to abortion. But in many parts of the state, there are no accessible abortion clinics and hospital systems have merged with Catholic hospital systems that restrict access and information about abortion. So there are people in Washington State who have legal access to abortion, but they lack actual access to abortion. I think it's really critical that we ensure that we're regulating state hospital mergers and Catholic hospital mergers to ensure that everyone's access continues to be protected in our state. And I also think helping to support and create funding for people who may be coming here from other states - I want to applaud the governor's work limiting the State Patrol's ability to be pulled into investigations of people coming to seek abortion care in our state.
[00:37:37] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - Nicole.
[00:37:40] Nicole Gomez: Yeah, so since the start of the campaign, I've been talking about the Keep Our Care Act, which is something that I worked on last session and I'm looking forward to continuing the work on it in the upcoming session. And that's similar - it's the bill that would ensure those health entity mergers, acquisitions, and contracting affiliations to improve rather than harm access to that affordable, quality care within the community. And it would, like Julia mentioned, put that prohibition on those consolidations that diminish that access to affordable quality care, including our reproductive rights. That is one very small thing that we can do right now. As Executive Director of Institute for a Democratic Future, one of the things that I heard a lot about when visiting the areas along neighboring states like Idaho was that we're going to need additional funding for those health providers that are right along the border there in order to appropriately have that intake of new, potentially new patients coming into the state to seek care. And so that's something I look forward to continuing to work on in the future.
[00:39:10] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - and Jeff.
[00:39:12] Jeff Manson: Yeah - again I agree with what both Julia and Nicole have said. I do agree that we need to push for a constitutional amendment. We, at the federal level - I think a lot of people thought that Roe was settled law, Roe v. Wade was settled law and we had a constitutional right to abortion access. And it took the right wing 50 years, but unfortunately they were successful and I don't think we can take anything for granted here. I feel rather confident that our current legislature is in the right spot, our current Supreme Court's in the right spot, but you never know what's gonna happen 5, 10, 20, 50 years from now - so we should push for a constitutional amendment for an explicit right to abortion access. In terms of what we can do, this last legislative session the Legislature did pass a bill to expand the types of providers who can perform services, anticipating that Roe may fall, which is great. That helps expand access, but I really think funding is gonna be a major issue. We need to make sure that we are fully funding our clinics and other providers 'cause people are already - even before Roe - people from Texas were already coming here for services as they were being further restricted across the country. And we should be a safe haven for people, we should be a place that people can come and feel safe, no questions asked and have access to services. And if that means also funding for their stay or transportation, I'm open to that as well. And I also agree that we need to -
[00:40:48] Crystal Fincher: Oh, thank you - and now Tyler.
[00:40:55] Tyler Crone: I've served on the board of Cedar Rivers, which is an independent feminist abortion provider in our state and one of the best in the country. I've also been on the frontlines of advancing safe, legal abortion around the world. This is an urgent moment, it is an all-hands-on-deck moment and is one of the key reasons why I'm running. One, we have to codify Roe - we have to do it. Two, we have to invest in the infrastructure of care - the services, the providers, the clinics. We have a desperate shortage in eastern Washington and in the 36th legislative district, you cannot get abortion care at a hospital because of the mergers. Just so you know, it is here at home that you cannot get the care you need. I also am deeply invested in increasing and expanding the funding that has already been initiated by Dow Constantine, by the governor, by our mayor to overcome barriers and to ensure access to care for everyone who is seeking abortion care in our state. We also have to think about upstream - let's ensure that we're scaling up our access to reversible, long-acting contraception such as IUDs - that will take the burden off of our limited clinic and service facilities. We need to invest in training - all of these rollback of Roe means that all those states where abortion is not legal, you cannot train to provide that care. And I guess I would like to say one last point - this is just the beginning. I hope you look to commentaries by my law school classmate, Melissa Murray -
[00:42:30] Crystal Fincher: Appreciate that. And for the next question - the pandemic exposed our healthcare system's limited capacity - which has grown even worse, continues to grow worse and more limited - and our state's unequal access to health services. What action do you propose to increase our state's capacity to respond to a health crisis, including behavioral health crises, and what will you do to make sure that our response supports our most vulnerable communities? And we are going to start this with Nicole.
[00:43:03] Nicole Gomez: Oh, Crystal - can you please repeat the question one more time?
[00:43:06] Crystal Fincher: Sure.
[00:43:07] Nicole Gomez: Thank you.
[00:43:08] Crystal Fincher: The pandemic exposed our healthcare system's limited capacity and our state's unequal access to health services. What action do you propose to increase our state's capacity to respond to a health crisis, including behavioral health crises, and what will you do to make sure that our response supports our most vulnerable communities?
[00:43:28] Nicole Gomez: Okay, thank you. One of the - I work on healthcare policy quite a bit at the state level, that's what I do. And one of the things that we have done to help increase access to medical care has been, like this last session, we got additional funding to help cover our undocumented population and we're seeking additional funding for that. So that was something that that was done during the pandemic because we saw the huge inequities in the way medical coverage and care is provided. I've been working on the Universal Healthcare Commission - I was appointed by Governor Inslee there - and so we are in the current talks of trying to figure out what the nuts and bolts of a comprehensive healthcare plan for Washington State would look like. [Noise of object hitting ground] And I just dropped my little thing. At any rate, we are currently in the process of doing that right now - to ready the state for a potentially single-payer program. And that's something that my nonprofit has been working strenuously on, and I'm hoping that by being there as an elected official, I'd be able to continue that work in a different capacity.
[00:44:56] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - Jeff.
[00:45:00] Jeff Manson: Yeah. I support universal healthcare, universal coverage, health insurance coverage. Ideally the federal government would take the lead on this, but we can't and shouldn't wait for the federal government to get its act together and need to do it here in Washington. I supported the creation of the Universal Healthcare Commission and I want to give a shout out to Nicole for all of her great work on this issue. If elected, I'll be relying on her on healthcare access issues. We need to take the lead here and if federal government maybe could follow our example in how we set things up here. But we don't just need health insurance coverage. I do Medicaid hearings as an administrative law judge. These are people who are covered by Medicaid, which was expanded under Obamacare, which is great. But often there are not sufficient providers for a lot of different types of services, including behavioral health services. And often, I think they would say the reimbursement rates aren't high enough to be able to cover people. So we need to not just provide universal coverage, we need to be providing the funding so that the actual services are available for those with insurance coverage. So it's attacking it from all angles and really it comes back to - are we gonna raise progressive revenue through progressive revenue sources in order to fund the services that people need and deserve.
[00:46:28] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - Tyler.
[00:46:34] Tyler Crone: First, I want to start with where you started - the pandemic exposed - the pandemic is not over. We need to be learning from where we fell short, what we did right, what we do better next time - that is the first pillar of continuing to navigate and recover from COVID-19. Too many of us are sick, too many of us have had our lives disrupted. A key piece of this, for me, is bringing that pandemic expertise coupled with investment and fortification of our public health systems, our public health leadership, and our public health infrastructure. A next piece of this for me, that is top-of-mind, is about how are we taking care of those who keep us healthy? We have an incredible nursing staffing shortage in our state, our healthcare workers are exhausted and overstretched, and we need to keep that top-of-mind if we're thinking about how we're navigating a crisis and who takes care of us. Likewise, we have frontline responders who are overstretched, such as our firefighters. I'd like to make sure those stay top-of-mind as well. I think the piece that I will close with here is how I would legislate and how I lead. I lead from behind centering those who are most impacted. A key question you asked is about how would those who are most vulnerable not be excluded - they would be partners in the solutions. Thank you.
[00:47:59] Crystal Fincher: Thank you very much - Julia.
[00:48:03] Julia Reed: I'm really proud to just recently have been endorsed by SEIU 1199 Northwest, which represents thousands of nurses and behavioral healthcare workers all across the state. It's an honor after all of the work that they've put in to keep us safe, that they've put in to keep us safe every day to have their support in this race. And one of the - we talked about two things in the endorsement process. One is the essential need for safe staffing. Too many of our hospitals in healthcare settings are being run at staff-to-patient ratios that are unsafe - that put the medical staff at risk, that put patients at risk, that put care at risk, that put our whole system at risk when there are stresses like pandemic. The other thing we talked about is the really important need to grow our healthcare workforce pipeline. I'm one of the only candidates in this race who has worked on and built workforce development programs and that includes having done work with the Somali Health Board to try to advocate for greater access for immigrant and refugee doctors. We have a lot of excellent medical, trained medical personnel in our state who, because of government regulations, aren't able to do the work that they're trained to do. And I want to work with SEIU 1199 Northwest Multi-Employer Training Fund to help grow our next generation of healthcare workers, especially women and people of color. Because to ensure they aren't excluded, we have to have, you have to have providers available who come from your community, who look like you.
[00:49:40] Crystal Fincher: Thank you very much. According to a recent Crosscut/Elway poll, Seattle voters were asked what they think are major factors in the crime rates. The top three answers were: at 85% lack of mental health and addiction services, at 67% homelessness, and at 63% economic conditions. And when asked specifically if they could direct where their tax dollars were spent, the top three responses were: at 92% addiction and mental health services, 81% said training police officers to deescalate situations, and 80% said programs to address the root causes of crime. Given that the Legislature has already voted to increase public safety funding, largely devoted to policing and prisons, do you feel that we should increase funding for behavioral health resources, non-police intervention services, and rehabilitation services before passing further increases for police spending?
And we will start with Jeff.
[00:50:45] Jeff Manson: Yes, I do. I think in terms of where we have underinvested in recent years, mental health and behavioral health services and interventions is where we are the farthest behind, where we need to invest the most. The Legislature did increase some funding this past year, but I think it's just a start, it's just a drop in the bucket. And I was trying to type up the numbers and I'll have to look it up later - and I think I generally agree with the respondents to the poll. I think mental health and addiction is a major contributor to criminal activity, and we need to make sure that we have these services available and that we are directing people who enter the criminal justice system into services, when they're properly identified to need those services. Drug Court is a huge success, other alternatives to incarceration for those with addiction issues and other mental health issues have been a real success story. But there are stories of Drug Court telling prosecutors not to - don't send as many referrals, we don't have enough providers to provide services for as many people who are wanting to come over to Drug Court. So we need to make sure that we're providing that funding so that the services are available. I do think that is the - one of the main causes of criminal activity and the cheapest way to reduce it.
[00:52:12] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - Tyler.
[00:52:18] Tyler Crone: Investing in the criminal legal system does not work. It does not help us solve the problems of today. I'd like to put forward and agree with many in Seattle who do feel concern, grave concern, about our public safety situation at present and push you back, Crystal, a little bit and say it has to be nuanced. We are currently facing a public health and public safety crisis. And so I am not going to pit two things against each other of saying - absolutely, we need to be investing in mental health, we need to be investing in behavioral health. And those are some of my key priorities - bringing forward a public health and a harm reduction approach to both. But you said - would you say you would do this rather than - I'm not sure we're at a moment where we can say rather than. As much as I'd love to put forward public safety as public health, I recognize we have Starbucks closing down, I recognize that my child who worked at Majestic Bay had to shoo out a person using drugs from the entrance who lurched at them and they had to call out a manager. And my daughter last night had someone break a bottle on her car. So just to say we are facing a moment that is complex and nuanced and is going to take a lot of integrity, thought, and care to center human dignity and put the services that we need to prevent these types of scenarios. So thank you so much.
[00:53:49] Crystal Fincher: Thank you very much. And just clarifying the question - it's would you fund those things before passing other ones, not necessarily instead of. With that, we will go to Julia.
[00:54:05] Julia Reed: I think safety, public safety, is the issue we hear about on the doors - all of us - the most every day. I think everyone deserves to be safe, but I think we can see that doubling down on our current system, which is broken, is leading to the results we're having in our streets. As someone who's worked in government my whole career, I really try to be led by data in making decision making. And I think the data shows us that we have solutions that work here in our City. I'm proud to be endorsed by Dominique Davis, the CEO and founder of Community Passageways, which is one of the leading examples of community-based, evidence-backed, non-incarceral, non-police-related solutions to public safety that create lasting safety in our City. I've also been a longtime board member for the YMCA Social Impact Center which sponsors the Alive and Free program, which similarly is a community-based program, community-based response to crime that has shown real measurable results. I want to see us investing in the solutions that work. I want to see us investing in things like Community Passageways, Alive and Free, greater access to advocates for victims of violence, of sexual assault, and addressing the scarcity and poverty that drives a lot of low-level crime, including the lack of mental and behavioral healthcare.
[00:55:33] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - Nicole.
[00:55:37] Nicole Gomez: Yeah, so on the topic of behavioral health, I actually will - first, to answer the question - yes. But on the topic of behavioral health specifically, the Legislature just recently put in a really large package of behavioral healthcare funding because it is a top issue - top-of-mind not just here in the Seattle area, but across the entire state and nation, quite frankly. And there still needs to be additional investments. This past session - something that I'm proud to have helped pass was this budget proviso that one of my, one of the local nonprofits came to me and said, Hey, can you help with this? And we ended up passing a proviso for a pilot program that - mental health providers were coming to them and saying, Hey, I would love to volunteer my time, but there's no way that we can figure out how to pair patients with providers. There needs to be a screening process that's easy for us to manage. And so we helped pass that through, so it's a pilot in King, Snohomish and Pierce. And with innovative ideas like that, if it works - let's see if we can continue to do it, especially now that we have telehealth, that could potentially help get providers across the state specifically in the areas where there's a lack. There's a huge lack of mental health providers statewide.
[00:57:15] Crystal Fincher: Thank you very much. And with that, it's 7:30, it is a hot evening, there's a lot going on. We are going to take a quick two-minute break just to give people the chance to grab some ice, refill water, do whatever you need to do. So we will start that two-minute countdown now, which goes by pretty quick. So we will start that break and then be back shortly.
Excellent. So it looks like we are back - I'm waiting for, there we go - we're all back. So this next question is a combination of two - a combination of a preexisting question and one sent in from a viewer. Starting off - Washington's facing housing affordability crisis - lots of conversation about ending exclusionary zoning, making further investments in the Housing Trust Fund, but also balancing concerns of different constituents. One in particular writes in asking, citing a King 5 story where Seattle has lost 11,500 rental property units in the past year, mostly smaller locally-owned properties, according to this and suggested by the King 5 article. They're wondering if you're gonna pursue similar regulations at the state level, which they feel greatly disfavor and disincentivize mom-and-pop landlords. So that's question one. And question two - in addition to what you plan to do for landlords or not, what needs to happen to address this housing affordability crisis beyond expanding zoning and investing in the Housing Trust Fund? And we are going to start with Tyler.
[00:59:07] Tyler Crone: Thank you. So I think that the first question piece was about these smaller landlords and what are we doing to find strategies that work? I think that we are at a extraordinarily difficult moment because one, we're facing a homelessness crisis that will only be exacerbated when we lift an eviction moratorium. This eviction moratorium is placing a disproportionate burden on some of these small landlords who are an important part of the solution. And so what I would look to do would be to one, bring these stakeholders around the table to see where have our actions had unintended consequences, or that article, Crystal - I just saw it on Twitter before we hopped on - where we're losing critical space where people are selling their units and it is impacting our housing availability. So one, that partnership with landlords looking for practical solutions, exempting small landlords from some of these onerous regulations. To that piece of affordability, we have to be finding smart ways forward around density, around building with that urban village model, increasing density along our secondary arterials and seeing it as a strategy for inclusive, safe, healthy neighborhoods.
[01:00:38] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - Julia.
[01:00:41] Julia Reed: Yeah, it's hard for me to speak to that specific article without having read it and dug into the data a little bit more. I, like I said, I like to be driven by the data and I know sometimes television news can can create packages for clicks as opposed to things that are more nuanced. I am very concerned about the loss of rental property in our City and the lack of affordable rental property. The University of Washington researchers just put out a book that I've been deeply reading for this process called Homelessness is a Housing Problem - the thesis is in the title of the book. And one of the things that they identify is that the lack of affordable rental property is the number one most determinative factor in the rates of homelessness in a particular area. So it's a huge concern. I'm really focused on this rising trend around LLCs and corporations buying up homes as investment properties to increase corporate profits. I want to explore what that looks like in our state and see if we can regulate that to ensure that our market can remain something that individuals can buy into for their own ownership. And that's really gonna be, I think, a big focus of mine in the Legislature.
[01:02:04] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - Nicole.
[01:02:07] Nicole Gomez: Sure. So like others, I have not had an opportunity to read the article that was posted, but what I would say is that this is exactly the reason why we need different options for housing. Aside from being able to lift the ban on rent control or something of that nature, we would also need to look at limiting predatory fees. There's other ways in which we can work through making sure that we have more affordable housing. I was thinking about an article that I read - I think it was regarding Amsterdam and there's a 40-40-20 rule that they use there. And so essentially what that is - is you have 40% of regulated rent, and then you have another 40% of medium-term rental, and then 20% would be an expensive rent option. And looking at other countries who are tackling this problem and are doing it in a successful manner could be helpful in helping guide the work that we do. We're in a - oh, there's time. Thank you.
[01:03:34] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - and Jeff.
[01:03:36] Jeff Manson: Yeah, our housing affordability crisis, I think, is related to a lot of the issues we all hear at the door and I think we're all experiencing ourselves. I think in terms of the role the state can play in that - there's twofold - one is direct state investment at the lower end of the market. This would be the Housing Trust Fund, other direct investments. The other is we need more density. We need - we're tens of thousands of housing units behind where we need to be. People are moving here faster than we're building new units and that's causing the - one of the main reasons that prices are rising. Seattle has taken steps in recent years to increase density - it could do more - but other cities in the region haven't done nearly as much. I think another thing is people who are wanting to build more housing units are having a lot of trouble with just basic things like permitting. I hear, of course, at the doors about Seattle's process and we need to make sure that our municipalities have the resources, are able to raise the resources they need to process permanent applications expeditiously. In terms of small landlords, I also haven't read the article. I would say my overall approach is that we need to respect tenant's rights, but also need to make sure that we aren't disincentivizing providing rental units so much that we don't have any housing for everybody. So I do think it's a balance and it's complicated. But those are the two things I would be looking at in any of this legislation.
[01:05:07] Crystal Fincher: Thank you very much. Now we go to a audience-submitted question. What would make Washington's tax code more fair for the poor and working families? And how much funding would you look to raise for needed services in Washington? And we're gonna start with Julia.
[01:05:28] Julia Reed: That's a great question. One of the things that makes our tax codes so regressive is that poor and working families who purchase more of their goods and consumables are paying a lot of money in sales tax. Tons of money in sales tax. Also, we talked about the gas tax earlier in the lightning round. People who have older cars, less fuel-efficient cars are paying more in gas tax than people who are buying - well, people who are buying Teslas in general aren't paying gas tax. So it's just another example of how working families are carrying the load for our parks, our roads, our schools, our infrastructure - and wealthy folks are getting a free pass. I think what we need to do in our state is - I'd like to see us create a statewide income tax. While we are working towards that, dealing with constitutional issues, I really support the wealth tax that Noel Frame who held this seat before has proposed - which she proposed a 1% tax on wealth over a billion dollars. I think you could even bring that threshold down a little bit. I also would like to see us increase the estate tax on large estates and use that as an opportunity to lower the estate tax on smaller estates so that families of color can afford to create generational wealth and that all working families can try to bring some generational wealth to the next generation.
[01:07:01] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - Nicole.
[01:07:04] Nicole Gomez: This is the billion dollar question. So I've been working with the Balance Our Tax Code coalition over the past few years. And we've been working in detail on this very issue. There's a lot of different ideas that are floating out there. We did pass the capital gains tax, so that was one effort. I do think we need to tax excessive wealth - that is something that we've been working on and will continue to work on it. That 1% tax on the value of stocks, bonds, and the other financial intangible assets over $1 billion, which again, I do also think that should be lowered. And I believe that they're working on a number that might be a little - a different number perhaps, or a different way of looking at it - but that only affects like a hundred people in Washington State. It's time that the wealthy do pay their fair share. There's also other ideas like a guaranteed basic income program I've seen out there. Baby bonds has also been floated where you're giving funds to - I think the bill was like $3,200 to give funds to people, to kids who are on the state's Medicare Apple Health program. And then that money grows over time and they get it when they're an adult, which is a good way to eliminate or to address the wealth gap. And I have so many more - I could talk about this topic for hours. So thanks.
[01:08:36] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - Jeff.
[01:08:39] Jeff Manson: Yes - as I'm sure this is a very informed audience and everyone's aware that we have the most regressive tax structure in the whole country. It is by far the worst, and we're really feeling it right now with inflation and the affordability crisis - the sales and property taxes that are so regressive. That's one thing I hear at the doors all the time. So I support capital gains tax and am cautiously optimistic our State Supreme Court will find it constitutional. Same with higher earners income tax and a wealth tax. We need to be pursuing all of these progressive revenue sources. And once we raise enough money to fund the services that we say that we need, then we could provide some relief from the more regressive taxes. The second part of the question was how much more revenue do we need? I don't know if I can put a number on it, but it's definitely in the billions - like billions and billions. Think about all the things that we've all been talking about, we mostly agree on that we need - we've been talking about healthcare, we've been talking about behavioral health and mental health, we've been talking - we haven't talked about childcare, but that's really expensive and requires direct state subsidies. We're talking about low-income housing and Housing Trust Fund and permanent supportive housing - and fully funding education. All of these things cost money besides the basic government services that we already have - often, which are not acting at full capacity. So we have not enough revenue and the revenue that we have is being collected too aggressively. So we need more -
[01:10:20] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - now Tyler.
[01:10:24] Tyler Crone: Thank you. My approach to this question, which is a critical question, is that we need to be closing corporate loopholes. We need to put our weight behind a move to an income tax. And I would like to see that income tax ultimately reduce our sales tax or move us away from sales tax, which I think Julia made a really good case of how that disproportionately impacts working people and people with less income. I am also very concerned about how our property taxes are affecting our seniors, our single moms - it's a concern that's raised to me, time and again, at the doors of how do we manage this and provide the supports we need with such an upside-down tax structure. A question that has been raised to me when I've asked it to colleagues is about a wealth tax. Will people move out of state? Is that something that we need federal leadership around or is it something that Washington can lead on? That's an outstanding question for me, but I just want to underscore the critical, critical need to fully fund our schools, to increase our investments in making high-quality childcare, and a strong start in life available - that we have and we see, as we've talked about throughout this call, a need to lift kids out of poverty and a need to really reinforce our behavioral and mental health systems and services. Thank you.
[01:11:49] Crystal Fincher: Thank you. You just talked about childcare a bit, Tyler and Jeff. You were a little bit prescient in saying we haven't talked about childcare yet, but this question is about childcare. We are experiencing a childcare crisis. It was already out of reach for many Seattle families - exceeding $1,600-1,800 a month in the City of Seattle per child for many families and only got worse during the pandemic, with many counties in this state reporting a 40% loss of childcare providers since the start of the pandemic - causing costs to rise even further and access to lower and become even harder. What can be done specifically to make childcare more affordable and more accessible to all parents in Washington? And we are starting with Nicole.
[01:12:41] Nicole Gomez: Yeah, so I recall this - even pre-pandemic - my nine years, wait how old is my son now? Oh my gosh - he's 12 - 12 years ago. When we first started looking for a daycare for him, there was none to be found. We actually had to find a family friend who was willing to watch him for us until we made our way through the wait list. This is something that a lot of parents have been experiencing. There's not a lot of ways where - there's no discounts for multiple kids in a lot of cases here in Seattle, so you're paying that price for each child. For Washington State specifically, I think we can look at different options. For instance, this guaranteed basic income idea - it's putting money into people's hands - the Working Families Tax Credit - putting money into people's hands. So there's ways that we can do this in a way in which allows people to spend where they are needing it most. And what would that look like? And that's something that I think a lot of people can - I think the Legislature's already been looking at this for a while. It'd be wonderful if we could offer childcare for free. And that's my time.
[01:14:08] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - Jeff.
[01:14:11] Jeff Manson: Yeah, it's really reached a crisis point. It's been a crisis that's been growing for years but I think since the pandemic, is really just out of control. I do - one of the hearings we do as administrative law judge is unemployment benefits hearings. And one of the main reasons that people are unemployed is 'cause they don't have childcare. They used to work or they wanna work, but they can't 'cause they can't find anyone to take care of their child and they - daycare centers were closing down or they had a relative who was providing care who's no longer available, possibly because of COVID. It's just become a real problem. And many people who are providing childcare are often leaving that industry because they can't afford to continue 'cause they're not getting paid enough. So when you're in this position where consumers can't afford to pay the going rate and the providers can't afford to stay in the business, that is a textbook example of where the government has to step in with subsidies. And we need to treat childcare more like we treat public education - as a basic service that the state provides - that way, not only are the kids being taken care of and having their early learning needs provided, but the parents have the ability to be part of the workforce and everybody's having trouble hiring now - it's a win, win, win, win, win - and we need to invest in it this coming session.
[01:15:40] Crystal Fincher: Thank you very much - Tyler.
[01:15:45] Tyler Crone: A dad told me that childcare was his one and only issue that he was gonna vote on in this election. I have had three kids and played those childcare Olympics where you don't know if you get to go to work, you don't know what wait list you're on, you have to call - it is extraordinarily hard. Anyone who has had a kid can tell you - Nicole is nodding her head - childcare currently, just to underscore and make sure that everybody who's watching knows, costs more than it does to pay in-state tuition to the University of Washington. A voter in our district talked about how her childcare bill is more than her law school tuition and $1,800 is a low-ball figure for those who are going to private childcare providers, such as those that service Amazon or Gates where it's considerably higher. The things we can do - one, we must treat childcare as the social good and the economic imperative that it is. We have to be investing in accessibility and affordability across the state. We have to be investing in thriving wages for our childcare providers. The people who take care of our kids should be well paid with great benefits, and that cannot be subsidized by those workers and that cannot be subsidized by those parents. We also have to be looking at the regulatory framework so that it is easier to provide care - and it's not just childcare, it's eldercare too. Thank you.
[01:17:14] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - and Julia.
[01:17:16] Julia Reed: Yeah, I'm really proud to be endorsed by SEIU 925, a union that represents thousands of childcare and early learning providers across the state. This is such an essential issue - I'm not a parent, and one of the reasons that I've chosen to put off having a child has been the immense cost of childcare. And I remember being in Washington, DC just really talking to all of my working friends about how we couldn't afford to have a child unless we lived near family who could help us take care of it. And I think that's true for a lot of millennial families, a lot of millennial women. And I think that we absolutely need to be investing in making childcare a reasonable profession. It is a factor of systemic discrimination and the fact that women's labor is systemically and historically undervalued in our society that we treat, that we think it's okay for childcare workers to make poverty wages. That's what drives in-home childcare providers out of the system. That's what makes it impossible to restart childcare businesses, especially in such a tight labor market. We absolutely need to be thinking about how we make this into an effective economy that works for people who need care and works for people who are providing care.
[01:18:42] Crystal Fincher: Thank you very much. We will head to the last question of the evening, which is from one of you. We asked candidates to submit questions to ask the other ones, and the question we selected - which you can all answer and we will begin with Jeff is - which of your endorsements are you most proud of and what do you think it says about you as a candidate and how you lead?
[01:19:09] Jeff Manson: Great question. Thanks colleague - whoever the colleague was, who submitted that. I would say I'm most proud of my endorsement by Mary Lou Dickerson, who was the State Representative from the 36th for 18 years. I've worked with Mary Lou when she was in the Legislature and continued to know her during her retirement, during my time as Chair of the 36th District Democrats. She was a true champion for the most vulnerable in our state. She's a social worker by trade and was really, as a legislator and as still as a retired legislator, working for the most vulnerable. I'm a disability community advocate myself, and the area of law that I adjudicate as an administrative law judge is probably best described as poverty law. So she and I have really bonded over that - and I think recognizing my expertise in state government and how state laws and budgets affect people and understanding the 36th district and the constituents. I was blown away when I got her endorsement and very proud to have it. I think she knows better than anyone who's endorsed anyone in this race what it takes to be a legislator from the 36th.
[01:20:28] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - Tyler.
[01:20:31] Tyler Crone: Thank you. Running in this race is an honor and privilege - I've gotten to call the 36th home for nearly two decades and the endorsements that I am most proud of and the feedback and enthusiasm is that my neighbors, those I meet, are all in and they're excited to see me run as a political outsider, as a first-time candidate. And as someone who is going to bring global experience and expertise, life as a parent, as someone who has been in these public schools, who has been a part of the fabric of these neighborhoods to the high-stakes decisions we need. And so for me, the biggest endorsement is the folks who say to me - this is the first time I've ever given to a political campaign because I believe in how you stand up for those who have been most marginalized, for the people who say - I've never put a yard sign in my yard before and it matters to me that you are running with a community perspective, with a desire to serve others, to center people over politics, and to be a part of solutions, not just kicking the can down the road. So I am delighted to be partnering, to be inviting people in, to be hearing that nuance and rigor and accountability and leadership from behind is what people want right now. And I thank you for the chance, Crystal, to share that perspective and to say how honored I am to have my community's support.
[01:22:00] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - Julia.
[01:22:05] Julia Reed: I'm gonna be really cheeky and give a few different things that I'm proud of. I'm really proud to have the endorsement of Sage Leaders - it's the 501(c)(4) organization of Puget Sound Sage, which is an organization I've hugely admired. It's an organization of young people, people of color who are fighting for healthy communities and for environmental justice. I think that it is a huge honor to have their badge, as well as the support of Dominique Davis that I mentioned from Community Passageways. I'm also really honored to have, to be - not only am I the fundraising leader in this race, but 75% of my $121,000 that I've raised has been in denominations of $150 or less. Our campaign is powered by over 700 donors who believe in us and I'm extremely proud and honored to have their support. And finally, it's not an endorsement, but I'm proud to be recognized as a Gun Sense Candidate by Moms Demand Action and to have a 5/5 rating of approval from the Alliance for Gun Responsibility - I think that that is a hugely important issue in our state and I'm proud to have the highest approval rating of anyone in the race and to have been the first candidate to receive the Alliance for Gun Responsibility's seal of approval.
[01:23:28] Crystal Fincher: That wasn't quite an answer to the question, but thank you very much, Julia. Nicole, go ahead.
[01:23:34] Nicole Gomez: Oh gosh, it's really hard to decide, but I think I'm gonna have to go with the one that was the toughest on me. And that would be Mayor McGinn, former Mayor McGinn. He has endorsed me after a very rigorous discussion about all the things that I cared about and why I was considering a run in the first place. So sorry about that - I really respect him and I'm really appreciative that he would be a constituent of mine and I have followed his work over so many different, so many years - and he does this work because he really cares. And I cry because he saw that in me. And it's - he's a leader with the Sierra Club, former mayor of Seattle, he has been working hard on environmental policy and transportation and housing and - all things that I care about as well. And on top of that, he's just a super cool, nice person. And that's the kind of leader I would like to be.
[01:25:00] Crystal Fincher: Thank you for that. And coincidentally, former Mayor McGinn is going to be our Friday week-in-review guest on Hacks & Wonks this Friday, so tune in to that show and you'll get to hear from him. Obviously, I'm a fan of his and have learned a ton from him too.
And with that, this forum comes to a close. I want to thank all of our candidates for participating and for stepping up to lead, for being so thoughtful about your service - sincerely appreciate that - and for making this an engaging and informative event. To those watching online, thanks so much for tuning in and for sending in your questions. If you missed any of the discussion tonight, you can catch up on the Hacks & Wonks Facebook page or on Twitter, where we're @finchfrii. We will also have this released on the podcast and in further content that people can digest in smaller bites and as a whole. Special thanks to the coordinators this evening, Shannon Cheng and Bryce Cannatelli, who are part of the Fincher Consulting and Hacks & Wonks team, and make me look fabulous. None of this is possible without them - not just this forum but also the Hacks & Wonks show and just a lot of the work that I do. So thank you so much for that. And to our fabulous volunteer Ilona who is with us once again this year and keeps everything running smoothly, kept the timer running smoothly, and got me back in-line with that. So appreciated. And they've all worked incredibly hard to put this event on this evening. Most importantly, I want to remind - once again - everybody to vote, it is really important. Our rights depend on it - especially now that we are losing our rights at the federal level, we have to act at the state level. We have to proactively take action. We can't just rest and do nothing at the state level to make sure that our rights are protected in this state. So ballots are gonna start arriving in your mailboxes in the next few days and are due on August 2nd. But vote soon - as soon as you can - you can register to vote still and update your registration still and see what's on your ballot at MyVote.Wa.gov. That's MyVote.wa.gov. Be sure to tune into Hacks & Wonks on your favorite podcast app for our midweek shows, including interviews with all of the candidates you've heard from tonight, and our Friday week-in-review shows, including this Friday with Mayor McGinn or at officialhacksandwonks.com.
I've been your host, Crystal Fincher - see you next time.